There is little question that yesterday’s Federation Council vote on Skuratov was a huge blow to President Boris Yeltsin’s prestige and power. Krasnoyarsk Governor Aleksandr Lebed, who voted against Skuratov, said afterward that the vote marked the collapse of presidential power in Russia (Russian agencies, April 21). Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who voted for Skuratov despite recent attempts by the Kremlin to woo him, today urged Yeltsin to accept the results of the vote and “give Skuratov the chance to work” (Russian agencies, April 22). One newspaper today echoed Lebed, saying that the vote meant that Russia had de facto become a “parliamentary republic” (Izvestia, April 22). Another said that the vote was like spitting in Yeltsin’s face and that he would now either have to begin a counterattack or join the ranks of Kremlin pensioners (Kommersant, April 22).
The Kremlin may need to launch a counterattack, given that the vote on Skuratov has undoubtedly given aid and comfort to the State Duma’s leftist opposition, which has been working to impeach Yeltsin. Indeed, a report today quoted an “informed source in the presidential administration” as saying that, in light of yesterday’s vote, the Kremlin is planning “to take definitely tough and absolutely consistent actions” in relation to all of those who are attempting to “destabilize” the situation in the country. The agency said that the source emphasized that the Kremlin would not “wait passively” for the Duma’s expected voted on impeachment, which is set for mid-May (Itar-Tass, April 22).
PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER IN MOSCOW.